[Or: Screaming Into the Void]

Frustration, Frustration, Frustration, Frustration
The Allniters – “Frustration”

It’s surprising how often you see the “You Just Don’t Get it, do you” sentiment these days.  It’s poped up twice in my Twitter stream yesterday morning (Once on a weird review of @scottsigler‘s book on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/pobusa and @stilgherrian‘s blog post http://tr.im/kWh3) and these guys clearly aren’t alone.  I’m happy to admit to my own frustrations too.

Of course the whole point of the cliched meem is that people are not beeing communicated with effectivly, and that leads to me asking myself why?

Clearly messages aren’t getting through, so that’s a problem with the receiver, the sender, the medium or the message.  So lets look at this in turn:

1.  The Receiver
Unfortunately this is where a lot of communication falls down, and often times there’s not too much you can do about it.  However, one should at least ask: is the receiver attuned to the medium of communications? If so, are they actually capable of receiving and interpreting the message?  Of course percussive maintenance of the receiver may be the only option for those who just don’t want to listen.

2.  The Sender
This one you can do lots about.  Are you sending an incompatible message?  Are you sending a message the receiver can’t understand? There is no point shouting at a deaf person.  Are you sending the message to the right person? It’s probably not work asking the plumber to fix your lights.

3.  The Medium
Are you using the right medium to reach the receiver.  I wouldn’t try and communicate with my mother via email, she’s not a technology person.

4.  The Message
Are you communicating clearly?  Are you starting the message at the right point, or are you assuming knowledge that the receiver doesn’t have? Are you leading the receiver through a narrative they can follow?

Communications processes aren’t just about sending a message, they’re about ensuring the message is actually received at the other end, and sometimes we all take it on faith that effective reception occurs.  At the end of the day, if the process doesn’t work, then you need to find what does.

Of course, sometimes we all just get frustrated and need to shout at the void.

To that end, I choose the do that here and now, though as this is a society gripe, maybe this is the best I can do.

Why do people insist on walking around with headphones on and music blearing?

Anyone who reads my regular commuting bitch-streams on Twitter will know that amongst other things I complain about is the number of people that just don’t watch where they’re going and bump into me at Redfern station.

To make two initial points: The white cane is an international symbol of visual impairment. If you see someone walking along, waving a long white stick (with a red bit at the end usually) in front of them, its a Good Idea (TM) to move out of the way. (And I say that because some people clearly don’t get it.)  Secondly, these are provided to the visually impaired (in NSW and the ACT) via Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and while they don’t cost the visually impaired anything, each one costs the resources of the association, which receives no government funding.

Now, the long cane is not a subtle device.  The tip rolling over surfaces is rather noisy, and in a tiled railway station concourse it’s quite loud.  Even if the visually impaired person isn’t directly in your line of sight, you should be able to hear them. (Unless you’re deaf).

You should be able to hear, but if you’re deafening yourself with your choice in portable noise, then you won’t hear.

Don’t get me wrong – listen as much as you like on the train/bus/ferry/tram/whatever.  I listen to lots of different stuff on the train every day.  But when your arse leaves the seat, switch the thing off.

After all, if you can hear someone like me coming, noisy as I am, then anyone could be sneaking up on you.

Of course, some people are just too stupid and/or self-absorbed and/or selfish, and despite the absence of headphones they still don’t pay attention.  In these cases, there’s a case for that percussive maintenance mentioned earlier.